It is good to know that I am on a two posts a month pace. Yes I do realize that I am squeaking this one in. The good news is I am starting to figure things out and it seems like my students are slowly figuring me out. This makes life easier on everyone.
It seems like, finally, I have seen all of my Facebook friends and friend’s kids are safely off to college. This past weekend marked, I believe, the last of the checking into dorms pictures. It has made me think of that day in my life both as a child and as a parent.
I hunted down this picture that was taken just after my parents left me in my dorm at the University of Iowa in . My desk is the one shown, and I had the bottom bunk (the reward of being first to move in). There was another bed on the other wall as we had three people in this dorm.
At first glance I chuckle about the “boom box” and the very old and small television. I remember picking out the bedspread and that purse I got on my first trip to New York with my high school choir. You can’t see it but I have my mom’s copy of The Harvard Dictionary of Music sitting on my desk just waiting to be cracked open and used.
Then I start to remember all the feelings I was feeling as I took this picture. The biggest feeling I had was a complete sense of free fall. I remember that moment when we had everything done and we were standing in the dorm. All of us felt the weight on our chests because we knew it was time to part ways and neither of us wanting to. We were trying to be brave. My father more so as he had just heard that the frat house across the street had burned down a couple of days ago and I am pretty sure his initial instinct was to scoop me up and take me back home. Part of me wouldn’t have minded that. Part of me couldn’t wait to get started with the next journey if I could just get my weak knees to work.
When Andrew went to college his dad drove him, so I didn’t get the exact same experience. However, I will never forget how I felt seeing all of his things in the car and all of us standing there with a weight on our chests because we knew it was time for him to go. I understood my dad’s desire to scoop me up and take me home as I just wanted Andrew to go back to his room and stay there forever.
Even if your child goes off to college relatively close, that moment of leaving them in that dorm room or waving to them as they drive off is a cold turkey moment. Nothing will be the same again. They are gone. Of course, they will be back, but that next journey of their life has begun and they are fully on it.
After my parents left me that day I found the strength to start that journey. My legs started working, and I slowly took that next step, and then the next, being pushed on by the knowledge that my parents were a phone call away and the excitement of what was waiting for me around the corner.
We all have those first steps that tend to be crucial and not all are necessarily college ones. Think about those journeys in your life and enjoy the feeling that no matter how hard they were, they were worth every step.